Home » Tithing – A Hebrew Perspective    


Tithing – A Hebrew Perspective — 12 Comments

  1. Thank you, Maurice, for laying this out so clearly. It makes me realize that our usual concept of tithing is very limited.

    It seems clear that faithful Israelites returned a double tithe *plus* offerings. One might think this would result in poverty, but the opposite seems to have been the case: When the majority of Israelites were faithful, they prospered materially as well as spiritually.

    When they wanted a king, God warned them that he would impose taxes, and that's exactly what happened. At that point, faithful Israelites would have used a total of one quarter to one third of their income for religious and charitable purposes *before* taxes!

    If we wanted to take up the challenge of doing something similar today, I think it would look like this:
    We would set aside 10% of our income as the usual tithe.
    Another 10% would be set aside for supporting the local church, including outreach and evangelism, and for helping bear the burden of those less fortunate than ourselves.
    An additional 5% to 8% would be set aside for offerings - such as thank offerings and support of various outreach ministries.

    It would require sacrifice for most of us- some self-denial in the way we treat our own wants.

    At the same time, I think it would result in better money management - less money wasted on things without lasting value and just better planning all around. It would allow God to open the windows of heaven over us, knowing that we would not waste Hi resources.

    I'm not suggesting that everyone should follow these percentages, but I do believe that everyone reading this could experience a blessing by following a practice of 10% *plus." Perhaps the *plus* portion will be small at first, but as we experience God's blessings and our faith grows, the *plus* portion can grow as well.

  2. Dear bro Maurice. Many thanks for this masterful post in the way you have explained and brought together salient points in what might otherwise be confusing. God richly bless you. Sabbath School Net really feels like a family. In speaking about support - the challenge might be how we support each other (Sabbath School Net family) better, being so diverse and widespread.

  3. Great! It gives a clear picture of what tithe is and indeed it is between us and our God. Be blessed Elder Maurice for this great sacrifice Am a keen follower of your weekly anyliss and contributions.

  4. Mr. Maurice, as usual you have provided much to ponder. As you point out, it is not so much what one spends his money on that tells what is in his heart, but why he does it. That is why Jesus could laud a poor widow giving her last two mites to support a corrupt religious institution that would crucify the Lord.

    At its core, tithing is about demonstrating a model of behaviour that displays the true character of God and that of those who follow him in a world of religious charade. It is not about percentages—it is about God loving us and us loving our neighbour as God loves us. (A neighbour is a “near brother” who is in desperate need—financial, mental, physical, spiritual.) It is about investing in people that we may not “like” and who may not “like” us because God thinks they are worth the life of his Son.

    This is what the principle of “tithing” teaches us: the Good News about a loving God and those who hear his call “follow me” and choose to follow in his footsteps in spite of themselves and because God is writing his Law of Love in their hearts.

    Tithing is a very practical demonstration of God's love.

  5. Thank you, bro Maurice, for this detailed explanation of the Hebrew tithing system. This has cleared up some questions that I had in my mind from studying the book of Deuteronomy a few months ago.

    May God continue to bless your ministry. Thank you again.

  6. I understand that "this article is to describe the tithing model the Hebrews were given during the time of the Exodus, not as a prescriptive formula but rather to provide a framework for thinking about tithes and offerings in our modern world."

    But I have a question about the years (for example 3, 6, 49/50). Can everyone choose the starting point themselves? What does the church (GC) say about this?

    • The lock-step approach apparently did not work all that well for the Hebrews. My research indicates that the Sabbatical year idea was not systematically kept. So, I don't think that the appointment of particular years in our modern world would be all that useful either. However, the principle of systematically supporting the work of God, the welfare of others, and even the welfare of ourselves is a good one. It should help us to think about systematic and sustainable giving.

      • Hi, Maurice. You make an interesting statement.

        "The lock-step approach apparently did not work all that well for the Hebrews."

        The prophets uniformly blamed the children of Israel for their disobedience, but it almost sounds like you are blaming the laws that God gave them. Would you like to clarify?

        • The disobedience of the Children had nothing to do with the timing, it was the fact that in disobeying God they were selfish and not only ignored the needful, but they also exploited them.

          • I see your point, Maurice. God gave them specific commands, including timing, in order to make it especially easy for them to obey. But they proved that nothing short of a heart renewed from its selfishness, by divine grace, will do.

  7. Thank you, Maurice, for your elaborate expose on the tithe subject. It will be a good reference to turn to, especially when friends inquire about the history and structure of tithing- for those who have difficulty reading the Old Testament.
    God bless.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

HTML tags allowed in your comment: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>